By Gil Wilson
Welcome to Dr. Bronson's History of the City of St. Augustine, the Freedmen's Bureau, the
Department of the South in the War of the Rebellion, Freedmen Aid Societies and the
History of Slavery in Prince Georges County Maryland. I would like to encourage all the
readers of Dr. Bronson's History to step into the web and do something that you can't do
with a book ---- correspond with the writer. I enjoy comments (and additions!) that readers
have made over the years. I love the web--- where else could you receive comments from
around the world and find relatives, researchers, genealogists and others who are interested
in the history of St. Augustine. Contact me at email@example.com.
These pages were started around 2002. I was attempting to start a walking tour business in
St. Augustine and these were part of the web pages that I used to set up my tour business.
The page was a hit but the tours were not. Not many people wanted a great history tour
when they could walk around at night and receive a fake ghost tour. I was averaging two to
three people a day compared to the thousands of people per day taking ghost tours. Oh
well, I liked the exercise and being out of doors after being confined to offices at Humana
Health insurance for a decade.
The history page was originally one page long.but it grew and grew until I discovered that
you could not have all the information in the world on one page. At that point I began
dividing the pages into eras. Next due to my love of classics I started dating everything from
the founding of the city (as in ancient Rome). I spend a lot of time reading 19th century
history texts so the format with the bold titles for paragraphs or subsections resulted from
that association (and I wish modern texts would appropriate the same format since it makes
it much easier to read and find information.) Finally somewhere in the process I started
moving all the documentation that I accumulated over a decade as coeditor of the St.
Augustine Genealogy Journal to the site. Lots of the links that underlie this web site go to
information and stories that were used in the journal.
This history has several sources besides the genealogy journal. Because I started this web
site as an introduction for visitors to come to my walking tours I was never concerned with
citing sources (which would be a real pain for the main pages anyway) and hey.sorry but it's
my web site. I don't need no stinking footnotes. I have sometimes given the source of the
original source documents for your convenience. If you're a researcher, go do some real
work (at least I've told you what's there). If you're a student you can site the website itself.
If you want to see how many footnotes I can do go to the Prince Georges Public Library in
Maryland and see my History of Slavery in Prince Georges County or the Economic
Effects of the Freedmen's Bureau Education Programs on Former Slaves in Prince
George's County. Ugh no more footnotes!
However, the original documents in the web site come from the St. Augustine Historical
Society, National Archives, Library of Congress, New York Public Library, University of
Florida at Gainesville, Florida Library and Archives, Florida Memorial College, Carlisle
(U.S. Army War College), Columbia University, Yale University, University of North
Carolina and the Amsted Research Library in New Orleans. For printed secondary sources
I have over 6 feet of books on St. Augustine (and still growing). Perhaps some day I'll list
The website contains hundreds of links to other Web sites of original source documents.
This will be increasing as time permits. [Editors note: This will not be increasing .... one of
my greatest frustrations is that other web sites come and go. At this point I have almost 900
pages and keeping up with the disappearing links has become to great a task. I've simply
been incorporating information into my web page from other sites to avoid linking to sites
that may disappear in the future.]
In the 1990s I was a participant in or at least a very impassioned observer of St. Augustine
so I have never created a page for that time period. Some time maybe but I have a lot of
bias for that period especially with the fall of the Democratic party, the opening and shutting
of the doors on elected African-American officials (Coach Floyd was the best elected
official St. Johns County ever had) and the election of the four horsemen of the apocalypse
to the County Commission. It will be a while before the 1990s appear. [Note: Some of you
may have noticed that there is some information available from the 1990s and early 2000s. I
have done this mostly to keep the thread of historic preservation current.]
I live in New Orleans now. Moved here in time for Katrina. House flooded. Trees fell all
over the lot but everything was fine for the most part of my historical records.
Gil Wilson is a graduate of Marshall University BA in Political Science minors in English and
Sociology 1973, Wesley Theological Seminary M Divinity 1976, and Johns Hopkins
University 1991 Master of Science (Economic Education). Additional couse work was also
completed at the University of Maryland, University of North Florida, Prince Georges
Community College, St. Johns River Community College, and Northern Virginia Community
Mr Wilson has held a variety of career positions including a stint as an intern on Capitol Hill,
a United Methodist Pastor, an apartment complex owner, a public school teacher, Project
Manager, Training Manager, a UCC minister, Economics adjunct professor at Florida
Community College and a teacher in New Orleans Public Schools.
This site is funded by you. Your continued assistance in buying Amazon products on this site
and viewing ads makes this site possible. If you're looking for any Amazon product, please
use any of the doors on this site and this site will get credit for your purchase.
Even as I add more and more pages about a variety of subjects I'm thinking about a major
rewrite. I am absolutely embarassed to look back and see how I have not understood native
Americans in this creation. St. Augustine exists on top of the genocide and destruction of the
native peoples of Florida. The Castillo is perhaps the largest monument to Native Americans
in America being built by a combination of Native peoples, blacks, Mexicans (still native
peoples) and criminal slave labor. At best the Spanish "supervised" the construction. This
destruction of native peoples continues throughout the First Spanish period with the British
and 2nd Spanish periods being only somewhat better. The American period is especially
poor with three events: the Seminole Wars,and the captivity of the Plains Indians and the
Apachie nation. As much as I admire Sarah Mathers for the contributions she made to the
second half of the 1800s she was one of the people responsible for the "Americanizing" of
native peoples by stripping them of their identity, culture and language. Somehow this major
thread will need to be woven into the story and I apologize to any native peoples I have
offended ---- although it probably looks like just another history. The story of St. Augustine
deserves better than "another history." St. Augustine is a multicultural history to the nation
second only to New Orleans my new adopted home.